Seniors saving cents

Retirement can mean a new life of relaxing leisure and time to check off all those items on your bucket list. But it can also mean you’re living on a fixed income, so you’ll have to be even more careful with your money.

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  • To offset all the aches and pains of aging, there just have to be some perks for getting older. Thankfully, there are MANY, but most of the time you have to ask for them. Mark Twain once said, “Age is a matter of mind ... if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!” Celebrate your senior status and turn it into a source for savings.

  • Many seniors live on a fixed income, and in this troubled economy every penny counts. Seniors should check eligibility for state benefits. There are also some federal laws which help older citizens save money, such as the senior property tax exemption, which was recently reinstated.

  • Protect yourself

  • A study reported by the American Psychological Association revealed that older people who can’t remember things correctly and are unwilling to admit there’s a problem are the most susceptible to scam artists. Seniors can be very trusting, especially if someone acts like a helpful salesperson who can explain a complicated program that pretends to benefit the unsuspecting recipient. Here are seven tips to help you or your older loved ones avoid getting ripped off by slimy crooks:

    1. Have your checks (social security, disability and stock dividends) deposited directly into your bank account.

    2. Pay as many bills as possible by automatic withdrawal.

    3. Reduce the number of telemarketer calls you receive by registering your phone number with the federal government’s “Do Not Call Registry” by calling 1-888-382-1222.

    4. Ask someone you know for a second opinion before signing up for something, especially if it sounds too good to be true.

    5. Never give a sales rep your personal information, such as your bank account number, social security number or passwords to anything. Senior scam artists will often call or email a request for your information, pretending to be from your bank. Never respond to incoming messages from your bank; call your bank directly to verify if they really did call before giving out your information.

    6. Choose someone you know and trust to receive a power of attorney on your behalf. When you get older and less able to make decisions, that person will be able to look out for your best interests and be legally empowered to make choices that protect you.

    7. Never accept verbal agreements; get it in writing.

  • Consider your political views

  • People often ask me if the cost of an AARP membership is worth it. The answer is — it depends. If you’re already a member of AAA, an alumni group, or your company has some kind of employee benefits package that provides discounts, then you probably already have access to the same discounts. AARP membership is extended to people over 50 years and is known to have a liberal agenda.

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  • Conservative seniors have a few other options, which could align more closely with their religious and political values:

  • Conserve your cash

  • If you are over 50, you can take advantage of the National Association of Senior Citizens Group Purchasing Discounts with the Group Buyers Club and their Senior Citizen Discount Club.

  • Senior Discounts is the largest senior discount database with over 150,000 businesses listed.

  • Certain communities have created special discount programs for seniors. A good example, is 55upclub in Utah. Do a search online, using the name of your town and the words senior discount to see if one exists in your area.

  • Be proactive

  • The categories of discounts below are not exhaustive, so when you get ready to make a purchase, ask about current specials or discounts for seniors. Some discounts kick in at age 50, while others aren’t available until you turn 60, 62, 65 or even 70. The first step is to simply ASK. If you’re asked to show identification to prove your age — be flattered. Look for discounts and specials on the following items and in the places listed below.

    • Rental Cars: many require membership in AARP.

    • Entertainment: movie theaters and theme parks.

    • Grocery stores: many stores offer senior discounts on certain days.

    • Health and beauty: is a great resources for in-home care, assisted living, legal and financial advice, mobility, life insurance, writing a will and more. Seniors are also offered discounts at many large hair cut chains and drug stores.

    • Restaurants: many restaurants offer percentage discounts or special offers to seniors.

    • Retail Shopping: many retailers offer discounts every day or certain days.

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  • Retirement can mean a new life of relaxing leisure and time to check off all those items on your bucket list at last, but it can also mean you’re living on a fixed income, so you’ll have to be even more careful with your money.

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Trina Boice is an author of 17 books, mother of 4 awesome sons, a twin, faculty at two colleges, Ham radio geek, and money-saving expert.


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